Review Summary: Fresh, diverse, and absolutely exhilarating.
sleepmakeswaves‘ …and so we destroyed everything
is a post-rock album. Yes, yes, indeed it is. It contains virtually all the common conventions of the genre: the sprawled-out song structures, those build-ups always trying to keep you on the edge of your seat, those meandering guitar harmonies, and those crashing climaxes meant to drop the listener’s jaw straight to the ground. But while the album has all of these things, …and so we destroyed everything
still remains…different. From beginning to end, the album takes these conventions, and either adds to them, or completely turns them around. The instrumentation is diverse and varied, as is the way the songs are built. As a result of this, …and so we destroyed everything
never loses an ounce of life throughout its entire duration, unlike many post-rock albums that strictly follow these conventions and these conventions only.
One example of how …and so we destroyed everything
puts a spin on common post-rock conventions is what the album does with…the build-up.
There’s this certain element of unpredictability floating all throughout the album. And this element most often shows through these false-alarm build-ups, moments where you think that a loud, crushing, magnificent climax unlike anything you’ve ever heard is just seconds away, only to hear the same melody, the one that was getting louder and louder in order to create that build-up, go back to its original volume and continue meandering. I know, this sounds like it could get annoying, but the way this album does it, it’s actually kinda awesome. It feels like it’s just doing it to throw you for a fun little loop every once in a while, rather than to just constantly fuck with you and insult your intelligence like some grade-school bully cauterizing ants with a magnifying glass or something. It’s in “now we rise and we are everywhere,” at about the 1:24 mark. That little bit of guitar feedback grows and grows and grows and then…bam. Back to the same pretty, meandering pattern the song began with. And that’s totally fine, because like I just said, the pattern is really, really
There’s another false build-up helping to keep things interesting at around the 7:55 mark of “a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.” This one may be even more creative though, because not only does it build up to the point of making the listener think that something huge
is coming, but when it stops building up, it transitions back down… into another build-up.
Chords are strumming in the front, a higher, distant guitar melody is in the background, a quick few hits of the toms and then…a big chord is strummed and sustained, while the drum roll begins…
Another way …and so we destroyed everything
livens up the common conventions of post-rock is specifically how the album’s songs are constructed and arranged. A lot of post-rock bands put way too much emphasis on the climax, apparently under the illusion that that’s the part that’s always the best part of the song, always the most emotional.
Sleepmakeswaves puts the right amount of emphasis on everything, including the parts some other post-rock bands write as quick as possible and fill in with whatever so they can quickly get to the climax. All of the meandering passages between the build-ups, the false build-ups, the climaxes, and the calm-downs make me feel like I’m gleefully skipping through the heart of the woods in the middle of autumn, a gorgeous haze of orange above my head, and the crunching of leaves beneath my feet. “we like you when you’re awkward” is pretty much this for its entirety, it almost acts an interlude, or an intro to get you ready for “…and so we destroyed everything,” the mind-smashingly epic 12-minute closing track that follows. It’s an absolutely delightful little track, consisting of a cute little key pattern, along with some acoustic guitars, and some electronic noises quietly bouncing off of everything in the background. Which brings me to another reason why this album is consistently so fun and refreshing: the diverse instrumentation.
There are passages all throughout the album in which the guitars, bass, drums, and synths are complemented by light, bouncy little electronic noises. The album pops with these sounds, they’re light, fun, and to be honest, just make me really happy when I hear them. Of course, this isn’t the only example of the album’s diversity, though. There’s a brilliant piano pattern, played by itself at the beginning of the title track. And there’s triumphant-sounding horns near the end of “a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.” The only thing all the songs really have in common is the basic instruments (guitar, bass, drums, and synths). As far as structure and other kinds of instrumentation go, all the songs are completely individual, which means, you guessed it, the album never gets long, stale, or dull even in the slightest.
Well, I’ve mostly just been rambling on and on about how cool how the structures
of …and so we destroyed everything’s
songs are, and about the instruments being used. But when all these instruments come together in the structures in which they’re placed, how do they actually sound?
Let me tell you, it’s a beautiful culmination of moving, soothing, and awe-inspiring. It’s fitting that “to you they are birds, to me they are voices in the forest” has a moment like the one around 3:24, because that moment soars like an eagle. The part around 1:07 of “(hello) cloud mountain” is happiness in audio form, and the first climax of “a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun” at 3:33 is simply spectacular. This album just never quits being awesome.
…and so we destroyed everything
takes the common conventions of post-rock and shines and waxes them until they’re more vibrant and beautiful than they seem to have been for a long time. The album is intricate, elegant, and epic, but actually quite easy to digest, due to the varying song lengths. Before each of the two longest tracks a shorter track is placed, and “in limbs and joints” and “(hello) cloud mountain” aren’t long at all. This is another little thing sleepmakeswaves has cleverly put into their unique post-rock formula. And with that final ingredient, the formula comes together beautifully in the end, creating a post-rock album that will spin your head and touch your heart. Let’s hope sleepmakeswaves didn’t destroy everything,
‘cause like, they need their guitars and stuff to make another album like this. And another album like this would be fucking wonderful.